My visit to Arvon HQ

Writing's a funny old game. One draft, you'll be cursing every word you write, looking out of the window after every sentence, finding household chores to do instead of boring off on Word for an hour. It's rubbish, you may as well put it in the bin.

Then you might have a compliment about your writing, someone might retweet your tweet, you might win a competition or have a story placed, you might read something inspirational. The next thing you know, you can't stop: your WIP is dreamy, you can already see it on the shelves.

My boost happened this week. Since winning the Arvon Award, Ruth, the director of Arvon, and I have been in touch and she invited me to visit their London office and meet the team. I did just that, and I was asked to read one of my stories I submitted so Ruth's team could get a feel for my project.
I thought I'd be nervous, my lips sticking together and my voice pinballing around in the room, but Ruth's colleagues were all so friendly and accommodating that I soon felt comfortable.

And then they asked me questions – like a real author! I was asked about what inspired my collection (where do I start?!), how I found the songs to reimagine (my go-to resources), what else I am working on (a novel), whether I preferred long or short form (difficult one, that), whether I'd attempt another biography (yes!). One member of the team asked where she should start, as someone who had never written but was intrigued.

 When I reflected on my answers, I realised I knew what I was talking about – my answers were valid, are valid. I am a writer! I've been writing for years! I have experience to share, advice to impart!

 It was an exciting realisation. And guess what? I can't stop writing now!

The Free Word Centre, where Arvon is based, is a beautiful place. Drop in and hang out – you don't need an appointment or permission.